AICPA Launches New Branding

The AICPA is rolling out new branding in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and their joint venture, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

The move will create unified branding for all three organizations, sharing the sphere logo and the same color palette. Currently only the logo for the association has been released; the rest of the rebranding will be announced in the coming weeks, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

The rebranding was announced in a letter to members from institute chair Kimberly Ellison-Taylor and CIMA president and association chair Andrew Miskin.

“This new brand signals that we are part of one global family with a shared commitment to public and management accounting as we come together through the Association,” says Ellison-Taylor and Miskin. “The same logo, colors and other attributes will appear across our brands to represent a consistent beacon of quality and integrity around the world.” The new look was extensively tested with members and students, who described it as “professional, visionary, dynamic and influential,” they say.

Monestime Named Chief Marketing Officer at Gray, Gray & Gray

Kelly Monestime

Kelly Monestime

Canton, Mass.-based Gray Gray & Gray (FY15 net revenue of $19.4 million) has announced that Kelly Monestime has been named chief marketing officer.

Monestime joined Gray Gray & Gray in 2004, and previously served as the firm’s director of marketing.

“Kelly Monestime has played a significant role in the growth of our firm over the past decade,” says MP Joe Ciccarello. “Her leadership of our marketing and business development efforts has been exemplary, and she and her team have succeeded in creating a clearly defined brand for the firm.”

LinkedIn Launches Facebook-like Redesign; Facebook Adds Job Search

While LinkedIn has launched a redesign that makes it look more like Facebook, Facebook has added a job search function that’s a lot like LinkedIn.

Both changes came about in the last couple of months. LinkedIn launched what it called a “complete overhaul” of its design in January, and Facebook allowed users to search and apply for jobs in February.

LinkedIn says its redesign was intended to provide a “more intuitive, faster” and more valuable experience. “Our goal is to ensure you can seamlessly access the most relevant professional conversations, content and opportunities whether you’re on our mobile app or on our desktop experience,” the company says. LinkedIn users say it looks and acts more like Facebook now.

LinkedIn is the most-used professional networking and job recruiting social media site, but Facebook’s new feature allows companies to publish a job posting on their page. Facebook users can click an “apply now” button that leads them to a page that is pre-populated with your name and any education or employment history that you’ve agreed to make public. A 1,000-character text box allows for a note, although resumes can’t be uploaded. The information then goes to the company in a Facebook message.

“Businesses and people already use Facebook to fill and find jobs, so we’re rolling out new features that allow job posting and application directly on Facebook,” Facebook vice president Andrew Bosworth said in a statement.

Wired magazine calls LinkedIn’s “blatant cribbing” of Facebook “smart.” In a Jan. 20 article, Wired says, “People know how to use Facebook, but even company co-founder Reid Hoffman once called the old LinkedIn ‘confusing.’ Amy Parnell, the company’s senior director of experience design, was more charitable when she said it had ‘too much noise, too much cognitive load.’ ”

LinkedIn’s cleaner look is easier to digest, thenextweb.com reports. “It’s more Facebook-like, which for a lot of people – especially new members – will mean something more familiar. Anything that gives people a reason to stick around is a win for LinkedIn.”

Postlethwaite & Netterville Launches New Brand Identity

Baton Rouge, La.-based Postlethwaite & Netterville (FY15 net revenue of $53.2 million) has unveiled a new corporate brand identity. The modern brand includes a new logo, tagline and redesigned website.

The firm’s updated website (www.pncpa.com) showcases the collective experience of the team and the firm’s approach to meeting clients’ individual needs. The new logo includes a symbol that combines the letters “P&N” to represent a “unified whole,” meaning the entirety of the firm is greater than the sum of its parts. “P&N: A Clearer Path” describes how the firm helps clients navigate complex regulations, ever-changing technology and constantly evolving practices.

“Our new corporate brand represents the firm’s focus on creating simplified pathways for our clients. It reflects the evolution of P&N’s diverse professionals and services, as well as the exceptional value we offer clients,” says Rachael Higginbotham, marketing director.

In addition, P&N is consolidating the P&N Tech brand into the parent brand. Going forward, the technology subsidiary will be branded collectively as Postlethwaite & Netterville (P&N). As the firm’s services have diversified, technology has become more integrated into traditional services.

“Just as our industry and the needs of our clients have evolved, our firm has changed, and it is time to update our brand to illustrate our progression,” says Bill Balhoff, managing director and CEO.  “While we may look a little different, our core values remain the same. We are a firm focused on quality.”

Withum’s Latest Video Aims to Bust Stereotypes

Princeton, N.J.-based WithumSmith+Brown (FY16 net revenue of $147.1 million) has produced its annual ‘State of the Firm’ video, and this one takes aim at accountants’ reputation as being boring bean counters.

As the firm says, “Withum is not your parents’ public accounting firm. Not even close.”

MP and CEO Bill Hagaman says, “We unveiled a video showcasing how Withum and its more than 800 employees are shattering industry stereotypes – as number crunchers, journal jugglers and pencil pushers – that have plagued our profession for decades. At Withum, we genuinely get excited about our work – we have passion and fun and look beyond the numbers on a piece of paper.”

An IPA Best of the Best firm, Withum is ranked No. 27 on the latest IPA 100 list.

According to Hagaman, Withum employees are financial artists, so to speak. “Our firm is a place where creativity, innovation and diverse thought processes are encouraged and expected. This is our strength and how we express our underlying values – the Withum Way – internally and to our clients.”

During Withum’s annual State of the Firm meeting, Hagaman also provided staff an overview of the firm’s strategic plan for organic and service-area growth. In addition, he offered a favorable forecast for accounting as a career.

INSIDE Public Accounting Again Partners with Association for Accounting Marketing; Nominations Open For 2017 Marketer of the Year

INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA) is proud to announce that it is sponsoring the Association for Accounting Marketing’s (AAM) Marketer of the Year Award for the fourth year, and is soliciting nominations during the month of January.

The award, presented annually at AAM’s Summit, recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exemplary performance in the field of accounting marketing. To be eligible, all nominees must have held a senior-level marketing position in an accounting firm for at least three years, although not necessarily at the same firm.MOY 2014_Final Image

“We’re proud to once again sponsor the Marketer of the Year award in 2017,” says INSIDE Public Accounting Publisher Kelly Platt. “IPA views the sponsorship as an extension of our long-standing commitment to the accounting profession. We’ve been recognizing ‘Best of the Best’ firms in the nation for more than 20 years, and it’s a pleasure to also recognize the dedicated and creative marketing professionals who help their firms succeed.”

Past Marketer of the Year award winners include Rhonda Maraziti of Princeton, N.J.-based Withum in 2016, Eric Majchrzak, of Tucson, Ariz.-based BeachFleischman in 2015, and Randy Mowat of Calgary, Alberta-based MNP in 2014.

Nominations should be submitted online by Jan. 31, 2017. Nominations are not anonymous, and self-nominations are welcome. Previous nominees are encouraged to re-apply.

Nominees will be judged on their strategic importance to their firm and their impact on helping the firm achieve its goals. Financial results, communication skills, execution of initiatives and leadership will also be considered. Nominees will be asked to fill out online applications by Feb. 21.

The Marketer of the Year Award will be presented at the Association for Accounting Marketing’s 2017 Summit, held in partnership with the AICPA’s ENGAGE conference, set for June 12-15 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Please contact Christina Camara at moy@plattgroupllc.com with questions about the award. For information about the Association for Accounting Marketing and its annual summit, call AAM at (856) 439-0500 or visit the Summit website.

The Platt Group publishes the award-winning INSIDE Public Accounting newsletter and IPA Annual National Benchmarking Report. IPA provides thought leaders across the nation with practical ideas, benchmarking data and information to help firms succeed. To learn more about The Platt Group and IPA, please call (317) 733-1920 or visit www.insidepublicaccounting.com.

The Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) promotes excellence, and elevates the professional stature of marketing, business development and other practice growth professionals to the accounting profession, directly impacting members’ professional development and careers through education, networking and thought leadership. Founded in 1989, AAM has more than 700 members, comprised of marketing professionals, business developers, CPAs, consultants, service providers, educators and students. To learn more about AAM, please call (856) 380-6860 or visit www.accountingmarketing.org.

A Managing Partner’s Guide to Social Media

By: Lee Frederiksen

Lee Frederiksen

Lee Frederiksen

Guest Blogger

As a managing partner or top executive, you’re probably more focused on taxes than Twitter. Growing your firm, finding great talent and fostering profitable client relationships are probably at the top of your to-do list. But what you may not know is that social media can play an important role in all of those areas.

In my decades of work with accounting firms, I have witnessed the impact of social media on growth, profitability and recruiting. And this observation is supported by the research my company has been conducting into professional services firms. Those that use social media stay ahead of the game. They’re the playmakers, the fast growers.

Social media is important in today’s competitive and increasingly Internet-fueled marketplace. If you’re not harnessing the power of social media, you are missing key opportunities.

The good news is that you don’t need to be a tech guru to put social media to work for your firm. But you do need to understand how and why it’s being used – and you’ll need a basic working knowledge of one or two key tools, starting with LinkedIn.

In this article I focus on the role social media plays in the marketplace and why you may want to consider upping your social game.

Here are six ways to think about it:

  1. Social media is here to stay.
    Like it or not, social networking is not a fad. It’s only going to become more important to firms like yours. For instance, social media is being used today to vet potential employees, expand firms’ networks, nurture prospects, develop visibility, demonstrate expertise and position executives as thought leaders. If you aren’t doing these things today, you will be at some point in the future. The question is, can you afford to be much later to the game?
  2. Your competitors and prospects are already using it.
    I get it. Not everyone at your firm is going to be excited about social media. Even if you or other top executives don’t want to participate on LinkedIn or Twitter, you can still benefit from being on social media. That’s because your clients and prospects use social networks to do everything from research to finding and vetting possible vendors. If your firm isn’t visible, it is missing out on a growing source of new business. In fact, six of 10 buyers use social media to check out a firm before they do business with them. So long as someone on staff is paying attention to your firm’s social media, you’ll at least be on people’s radar. Many of your competitors have embraced social media. If you want to compete, so should you.
  3. It is the new “face” of networking.
    Social media is just another form of networking. You still may prefer to meet with colleagues or prospects over lunch or at an in-person event, but face-to-face networking isn’t the only way to forge connections. Sure, social media isn’t as personal as traditional networking, but it offers other advantages. It’s the perfect medium to build a thought leadership following, for example, and you can use it to reach far more people with less effort. Keep in mind that your clients are using social media to network – if your firm isn’t part of the conversation, they are likely being influenced by a firm that is.
  4. All social media is not created equal.
    Social networking encompasses a wide range of platforms that use different formats – micro-blogging (Twitter), photos (Instagram), videos (YouTube) – each designed to reach different kinds of audiences. It can be overwhelming. Fortunately, you can safely ignore the vast majority of these platforms. If you focused only on one, LinkedIn, you’d cover most of your bases. LinkedIn offers a variety of channels designed with businesses in mind. LinkedIn Pulse is a great place to publish articles, while LinkedIn Groups is where like-minded people gather to share ideas, discuss their business challenges, and offer up possible solutions. Other platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have their place, but you can add them to your mix over time as you need them. When it comes to social media, figure out where your audiences interact and put your energy there first.
  5. Using social media requires an investment.
    Creating a social networking profile may be free, but you still have to invest in it. How? You’ll need a strategy, one or more writers, social media policies, someone to post messages and someone to manage the whole thing. While it’s fine to start small, to make the most of a platform you’ll need to commit real resources to it. That’s when you’ll begin to see a real return on investment.
  6. It can boost morale – and much more.
    If you want your team to tout your business, let them loose on social media. This process has a name – employee advocacy – and it can turn your employees into powerful brand ambassadors. We’re not talking about bald-faced bragging. Rather, it’s a way staff can share industry insights, client success stories, and expert advice. Getting them involved cultivates a sense of “ownership” in your firm. According to our research on employee advocacy, firms with a formal employee advocacy program grow faster and see more benefits than those without one. In fact, high-growth firms are twice as likely to encourage staff to use social networking.

In particular, employee advocacy encourages Millennial staffers to get involved in marketing the firm using a medium they are already comfortable with. If they balk at the prospect of attending a networking event, why give them an equally valuable way to contribute? Our research finds that Millennials want to participate in social media more than Baby Boomers and Generation Xers because it helps them develop relevant skills, differentiate themselves from their peers and boost their career opportunities. And of course, the younger members of your firm can probably teach you a few things about using social media in the process. Win-win.

Social media can help the modern accounting firm in many ways. From marketing strategy and operations to employee development and recruiting, social media is changing the way firms grow.

Lee Frederiksen is managing partner of Hinge Marketing, which focuses on professional services firms.

Henry+Horne Unveils New Look Through Rebrand Effort

Tempe, Ariz.-based Henry+Horne (FY15 net revenue of $21.4 million) has unveiled a new look and communication style after undergoing a rebrand, the firm announced.henry-horne-logo-color

The update is centered on what the firm values most – people. The new logo and colors show that Henry+Horne is relational and knowledgeable while the new tagline, “Offering You More,” highlights the firm’s commitment to going above and beyond for clients, team members and the community.

“Our branding efforts are being used to communicate outwardly who Henry+Horne is. We aren’t your run-of-the-mill CPAs who provide you with a service and send you on your way,” say co-MPs Chuck Goodmiller and Chuck Inderieden. “Our team cares about what’s happening with our clients, each other and our communities. The change was big but the time and energy to make it happen was well worth it.”

The firm’s new website will launch next week at www.hhcpa.com.

Paoletta Joins Marks Paneth as Chief Marketing Officer

Diane Paoletta

Diane Paoletta

New York-based Marks Paneth (FY15 net revenue of $111 million) has announced that Diane Paoletta has joined the firm as chief marketing officer.

Paoletta will be responsible for the firm’s marketing and business development activities, including the identification of market development opportunities, implementation of marketing plans in alignment with strategic objectives, and stewardship of the Marks Paneth brand.

“The past 12 months amounted to a great year for Marks Paneth – from the firm’s expansion into the dynamic Philadelphia marketplace, to the acquisition of two exceptional firms,” says Harry Moehringer, Marks Paneth’s MP. “As we continue on our journey of strategic growth, our marketing pursuits have become equally ambitious. I am confident that Diane’s vision, background and leadership will play a significant role in driving our business forward.”

POUNCE® Team Recognized as 2016 Innovative Practitioners by CPA.com

P&N Tech, the information technology subsidiary of Baton Rouge, La.-based Postlethwaite & Netterville (FY16 net revenue of $57.6 million) has announced that Rachael Higginbotham and Caitlin Lacher, two of the project team members behind the development of Pounce®, have been named winners of the Innovative Practitioners of the Year Award by CPA.com.pouncelogo_pn_2016

The annual award recognizes innovations in process, services or technology implementation in public accounting firms.

The development of Pounce® was a collaborative effort between the application development team of P&N Tech and the marketing and business development professionals of Postlethwaite & Netterville. IPA wrote about Pounce® in a wide-ranging panel conversation on innovation at the Association for Accounting Marketing annual conference in New Orleans.

Pounce® is an easy-to-use, web-based system designed for service providers in the accounting, business consulting, legal and architect/engineer/contractor (A/E/C) industries. The purpose of the system is to provide employees access to marketing collateral and resumes to aid in business development and sales efforts.

The Pounce® team will be recognized in December at the 2016 Digital CPA Conference to in Las Vegas.

Learn more about Pounce® at www.GoPounce.com.